From extrication training to receiving their badge, becoming a firefighter takes time and dedication.
The windows of an old white Buick sedan spiderweb at the entrance of the Holly Hill Salvage, dust particles floating in the air as the glass shatters.
It's an action that is repeated over and over as new Ormond Beach Firefighters Kristy Brown and Denton Sawyer become familiarized with the department's tools and procedures for extrication.
In this training exercise, precision is key. The Buick is empty this time, but once they complete orientation and are put on a crew, Brown and Sawyer will have to put into practice what they learned. At that point, it'll be a matter of saving lives.
It's why they became firefighters.
“You get to be there on somebody’s worse day and be the person there to help them, and I wanted to be that person," Brown said.
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, two days before they were sworn into the Ormond Beach Fire Department, Brown and Sawyer were in the thick of their orientation, a period which lasts two weeks after they're hired. Despite all new hires coming onboard with a basic understanding of the job, as well as a certification, OBFD Capt. Meghan Quartier said the orientation serves to teach them how the department is run — from standard operating procedures to learning the specialized tasks each company officer is assigned, such as hose deployment, firefighter survival and water supply.
“When they get hired, it’s not fair or safe to just throw them on a fire truck and say, ‘you’re ready to go,’” Quartier said.
Once the firefighter completes that orientation, they go through a year of probation before they finally earn their badge. This month, Quartier is celebrating her 20th anniversary of working with the city of Ormond Beach, and in that time, she's been able to work alongside some of her former students. Quartier is also an instructor with Daytona State College's firefighter program.
“I love teaching out there and we hire the students that come through," Quartier said. " So I get to see them from the very initial stages where they walk in knowing absolutely nothing to sometimes getting them on my crew.”
'It should come from your heart'
"To whom much is given, much will be required."
Ormond Beach Fire Chief Richard Sievers repeated the Luke 12:48 at the swearing in ceremony on Friday, Jan. 17, where both Brown and Sawyer recited their oaths of service. Four firefighters — Joey Licari, Justin Browder, Zachary Snyder and Ethan Wilson — also received their badges after finishing their year of probation.
Sievers used to scripture to emphasize the high standards firefighters must uphold. The public trusts them to take care of them in their time of need, Sievers said.
“Being able to work in the fire service is a calling," Sievers said. "It should be a true calling — it should come from your heart.”
Sawyer, who came to OBFD from the Daytona Beach Fire Department, said he became a firefighter for a sense of purpose. In the past, he'd worked other jobs that lacked that quality.
The comradery and morale is "through the roof" at OBFD, and both new firefighters said they were excited to start their jobs.
“Orientation is fun, but getting back into it, that’s really what we’re in this for,” Sawyer said.